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Capital market probe: Reps invite Soludo, Onyiuke-Okereke, others

By EMMAN OVUAKPORIE

ABUJA—House of Representatives’ investigation into the near collapse of the Nigerian Capital Market took a new twist yesterday as fresh hearing into the matter began.

The committee has equally invited the former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Chukwuma Soludo, former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commisssion, SEC, Musa Alfaki, former Director-General of Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, Mrs. Ndidi Onyiuke-Okereke, former Bank PHB Managing Director, Francis Atuche and other players in the banking industry to appear before it unfailingly on Friday to provide their explanations on the failing capital market saga.

Director-General, Security and Exchange Commission, Ms Arunma Oteh (R), and some Capital Market Operators during the Public Hearing by the House Ad-hoc Committee on Investigation of the near collapse of the Nigerian Capital Market in Abuja on Tuesday

Meanwhile, stakeholders in the capital market industry have started enumerating the factors that culminated in the failure of the capital market.

The Society for Analytical Economics led by Dr. Godwin Awoh, told the committee that the failure of the capital market was a direct consequence of the failures in the financial sector.

The fresh approach began  just as Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal declared that the House had no intention of engaging anybody in battle through the investigation.

Opening the fresh public hearing at the National Assembly, Tambuwal, who was represented by the House Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamilla, said: “You are all aware of the history of this hearing. We have gone full circle. This is a new beginning of great expectations. It is a hearing that is looking for answers to the various problems in the Capital Market. It is not an adversarial hearing but one that seeks to bring to the fore the factors working against our capital market”

“Whatever has happened should be put behind us because Nigerians are expecting too much from us to dig into what brought the capital market to where we are today.”

SEC to make presentation last
Reading out the new operational methodology for the investigation, the ad-hoc committee stated that regulators of the capital market, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, would be the last to make presentations at the public hearing.

This sharply contrasts with the method adopted in the botched public hearing conducted by the Herman Hembe-led House standing committee on capital market.

El-Sudi equally stated that the committee would do only those things that supported the drive to find solutions to the problems in the capital market.

“It is common knowledge that Nigeria’s Capital Market went down from a high of N13trillion to N4.6trillion within 10 months in 2008 and the situation has not improved much. Many stock markets of the world from USA to Britain, from China to Japan, Russia, France and others suffered similar crises and these markets had remarkably improved while that of Nigeria is moving at a snail’s pace.”

He also explained that “it is important to emphasize the focus of this probe given recent happenings which have been widely publicized in the media.

“’Our assignment is to identify the manifest causes of the markets near collapse and challenges that have held back its recovery with a view to finding lasting solutions for the investing public, the operators, the regulators and the companies that rely on the Capital Market for long term funds and the economy as a whole.”

El-Sudi said the panel was not out for a blame game declaring that: “It is important to know what brought us to this sorry state and where mistakes were made or outright frauds committed they must be admitted and rectified in order to restore confidence.”

Meanwhile, stakeholders in the capital market industry have started enumerating the factors that culminated in the failure of the capital market.

The Society for Analytical Economics led by Dr. Godwin Awoh, told the committee that the failure of the capital market was a direct consequence of the failures in the financial sector.

According to him, the capital market constituted only five percent of the financial sector and whatever affected the financial sector would affect the capital market industry.

He further stated that the low level of independence of regulators in the capital market played serious roles in the woes that bedevilled the industry.


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